Friday, April 7, 2023

Sunset after the Storm

Black River Electric Crews in Glen Allen, MO


Wednesday, March 29, 2023

60 Seconds or Less

Did you know that the crew at McDonalds is expected to have your order ready and through the pickup line in 60 seconds?  Sixty seconds.  One minute.  That is insane.  Some of us cannot even walk across our living room in

sixty seconds.  Me, I am some of us, because I will trip over things, but that is another story.  

I pulled up at the drive thru window at McDonalds the other day and the girl was rushing to get my drink, take an order, make change.  She must have been barely sixteen.  Stress was all over her face.  I sat there as she shuffled, giving me my drink, straw, and change.  I smiled and told her to have a nice day, but the automatic window slammed shut.  It was a sad scene from an unpersonable world.  

When I grew up there was a different dining joint that sat where McDonalds sat.  The only thing that came in sixty seconds was the next tall tale, the smoke clung in the air for more than sixty seconds, and the grease on the wall was older than me.  The food was as good as the now popular AJ’s (I do recommend AJ’s, tell Rob hello, and ask if he is working hard), the staff was sometimes as friendly as the late Jer (I miss Jer), and you could feed the whole family for less than a thin crust pizza from Harps.   

Now I am not downing McDonald’s; my own daughter learned customer service there or as we sometimes call it customer patience.  Some of you might remember her or she remembers you - as you might have yelled and cussed her out when she asked you to pull forward or advised that the ice cream machine was down for a third time that week.  

The first time I saw her walk the other way in the grocery store away from a well-known and respected businessman, I questioned her.  She said “Mom, that man is the most hateful man I know, he uses words I didn’t know existed over ice cream.”  I chuckled, but was sad at the same time.  What businessman cusses at a group of part-time teenage fast food workers making minimum wage that has 60 seconds to get your order ready? 

I wonder if that man cussed out the workers at the 3-Way Cafe?  I know he dined there a time or two, I sat at a table diagonal from him at least once.
Then I wonder if he would behave that way at the grocery store, the bank, the doctor's office, or anywhere else that normally hires adults?  Would he walk into my business and yell and scream at my employees?  Most of them are other local business owner’s teenage kids working part time for me.  

Is he the only one that doesn’t have it his way in 60 seconds has a toddler-like meltdown? I can answer that - NO, follow any local Facebook feed and you will see pages of rants on our local McDonalds, Dollar General, and the price of eggs at Harps. 

60 seconds or less to have our order right, must be $5 cheaper than Walmart even if it cost $10 in gas to get to Walmart, and must have 42 professionally trained people working for free to keep up with never ending stock trucks and lack of manpower. 

There are some real champions in our community.  I don’t always know their names, because sometimes they hide their name badges - I would too. 
At McDonald’s you will find 60 Second Match Winners; they take your order, work hard to get it right, and often take 3 more before you get to the window. They take your payment with people talking in their ear, and they make sure you have enough or little enough ice to make your day right!  Cheers to you Marble Hill McDonalds!  You are my People!  

At Dollar General; Patton, Marble Hill, and Arab the 900,000 Pallets of Freight Winners.  Dollar General is the second largest retail store in our county - never a slow day of customers.  They get Christmas merchandise in July and Easter at Thanksgiving.  Their card machines are broken 90% percent of the time and this is a nationwide problem, go to any Dollar General anywhere.  So yes, I once made a joke about their hours, but in truth, it’s not them, it’s corporate and our local people are working hard!  Thank you for serving our county!  

The Heart-Filled Harps Team!  The sad truth is Harps bought Country Mart at a bad time - Covid 2020.  The shortages, inflation, stock changes, remodels, supplier changes, no toilet paper, no beans, egg prices up, egg prices down, egg prices up, are they going down again? I have seen front row Christians say horrible things about one of the largest non-tax funded employers and their staff in our county.   A business that hires and trains young men and women from stocker to management.  A business that is one of our largest sales tax producers in the county - sales tax that supports our schools, road and bridge, and law enforcement.  The Harps team works hard, they are knowledgeable, giving, and care about our community.  There has never been a time that I have had to ask for extra supplies for our community gardens, because Harps covers it.  They also cover free food giveaway, Senior breakfast, and many more activities.  They love our community and still take a beating.  

Corporations make a lot of decisions for big local businesses, but the people who work there are still our people.  They still matter.  They are still part of our community.  

So the next time the ice cream machine is down at McDonald’s remember that might be a future customer of yours, sir.  

Mam’ the next time you don’t have it your way, remember that Facebook post might be read by your former customer, as they might not be your customer anymore.  

Take those 60 seconds, Give Grace.   

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Not a Lumberjack

April 3, 2013, just after moving home (with my kids), my Dad had me

follow him across the farm to where a tree had been cut down.  

When we arrived he handed me sledgehammer and a wedge; then told me to “learn how strong you really are.”

After I split the log up he said “document this, so you never forget how strong you are and where you get that strength from.”

Every hard day, I try to remember that day and the lessons I learned: 

* Carry the biggest hammer you can swing. 

* Your arms will wear out, but your heart will keep you going.  

* My Dad is my Cheerleader no matter what.  

* I am not a lumberjack.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Rural Southeast Missouri Antiques & Treasures Trail: Jackson, MO to Piedmont, MO

 Jackson, Missouri to Piedmont, Missouri

67-mile scenic drive filled with treasures and unique stops.  

The Old Pioneer Market:  2008 West Jackson Blvd, Jackson, MO 63755

Heartland Harvest Market & Antiques: 3277 State Highway 72, Jackson, Missouri 63755

Knowlan Family Farm:  3243 State Highway 34, Burfordville, MO 63739

Ava Craft Center 2.0 SEMO:  134 State Highway U, Burfordville, MO 63739

Bollinger County Coop: 200 State Highway 34 W, Marble Hill, MO 63764

The Rusted Vault: 107 High Street, Marble Hill, MO 63764

J & R Resale: 402 High Street, Marble Hill, MO 63764

Sunset Floral & Garden Market: 115 State Highway 51 North, Marble Hill, MO 63764

Serenity House Floral & More: 214 Conrad Ave, Marble Hill, MO 63764

Second Time Around: 114 First Street, Marble Hill, MO 63764

First Street Market: 206 First Street, Marble Hill, MO 63764

Old Lutesville Emporium:  203 First Street, Marble Hill, MO 63764

Grojean's Snack Shack: 205 First Street, Marble Hill, MO 63764

Unique Treasures:  112B First Street, Marble Hill, MO 63764

Bill Peters Hardware: 313 First Street, Marble Hill, MO 63764

Twin City Pharmacy: 106 North First Street, Marble Hill, MO 63764

The Personal Touch: 205 St Hwy 34W, Marble Hill, MO  63764

One Stop Farm Shop: 501 State HWY 34W, Marble Hill, MO  63764

573 Coffee House:  600 Hwy 34 West, Marble Hill, MO  63764

The Mason Jar at Mesta Meadows: 12005 State Highway 34, Glen Allen, MO  63751

Grassy General Store: 4834 State Hwy 34, Glen Allen, MO 63751

Northtown Thrift Store:  154 N Front Street, Greenville, MO 63944

Frankie Mart:  250 E Maple St, Greenville, MO. 63944

Richard’s Supermarket: 110 Main St., Greenville, MO 63944

Trail's End Coffee and Cafe: 101 Main Street, Greenville, MO

Soul Threads:  95 State Hwy 143, Patterson, MO  63956

Angie’s Stop n Shop: 106 N Main St, Piedmont, MO 63957

Johnson's Farm and Pet:  13303 State Highway 34 Piedmont, MO 63957

​Piedmont Florist: 227 N Main St, Piedmont, MO, 63957 

Rick's Pawn:  115 N Main, Piedmont, MO, 63957

​The Nature Cottage:  302 Legion Park RD, Piedmont, MO  63957

Friday, January 20, 2023

Born a Female, Made a Feminist

Sunday over lunch I told my family “I am a feminist” and they laughed at me.  

As I sat there, I remembered we have forgotten what a true feminist is.  It’s not someone fighting for entitlement; it is someone fighting for equality.  

I was not born a feminist; I was born a female. As I got older, I realized there was “man’s work” and there was “women’s work” in some folk’s eyes.  I did both.  I mostly didn’t have time to wait on a man or there wasn’t a man around to do the work.  

When I was a young adult, I realized that some folks expected me to do “man’s work” for a “woman’s pay” even though “woman’s pay" really didn’t exist in any employee handbook. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Responsible for Sunflowers?

Today, an elderly couple walked into our shop, and we started chatting about what was here and what is here now in our little town.  So many things have changed over the years.  The Dime Store, Wallis Family Store, Ricketts Boot Store, Chandler Drug Store, Barkers Furniture Store, ect..  Names of the past, but not forgotten.  We established kinship.  Who she knew that I was related to and who I knew that she was related to.  This is normal in a small business.  

As our conversation continued, she looked straight at me and said, “are you the lady responsible” and I stopped her, I said, “mam, I am not responsible.”  She laughed and said, “I am not here to complain, I was going to say the sunflowers during the summer.”  

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Rural Economics - Bollinger County, Missouri

As I am writing this, I am sitting on the banks of the Gulf of Mexico listening to the waves beat against the sand.  The clouds are dense, the fog is heavy, the locals are wrapped in warm layers as the temperatures have not climbed out of the fifties yet.  I keep replaying in my head that my son, my money wise son, was swindled out of $60 yesterday at the local Coach Outlet - it was a wallet that he could not pass up, or it was a saleswoman who told him that men should carry the best.  Either way, that was an entire day of wages for him at the Rhodes Farm.  He stacked wood, moved tree limbs, and fed cows for the money - all of those things I doubt the saleswoman had ever done or heard of. 

We are tiny little consumers in a big world of money.   These thoughts play over and over in my head. Where does the money go?  How do we spend so much?  Where are we spending our money?  Money Matters.   Money Talks.  Money makes the world go around.  

I recently read and heard about the talk of a new sales tax coming to town.  My heart sank.  As a multi-business owner, I already know how hard I work to get people to walk through my doors.   Hours are spent marketing, posting, begging, pleading, resetting, unpacking, and marketing again to get people to recognize our community is the place to shop.  My main marketing tool - things cost less here.  Yes, things overall cost less here, unless we are talking about eggs and they are just ridiculous everywhere you go - where I am today, I paid $8 for a dozen eggs.  Salt water must reduce production.  

A little over a year ago I wrote the same sort of column about sales tax, I suspect next year I will write again, but nonetheless the facts do not change.  A half cent of nothing is still nothing.   No marketing, no advertising, no anything can change that.   We cannot tax ourselves out of business.   

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

It’s Just Me

Hi it’s just me.  I feel like it is has been ages since I actually used this silly little blog I built.  That was what I use to refer to it as.  When I was secretly proud of The Missouri Mom, but thought I annoyed people.  

Lately inside of me there has been a war, a war for writing, a war for overcoming, and a war for why I even care what people think about me.  

I didn’t build The Missouri Mom for attention.  I built it to share my experiences as a mom, a woman, and a person, in hopes to help others navigate similar obstacles I faced. 

A lot has changed since my first post, but nothing has really changed.  I still want to help people and I still help people every day.  It is my calling. 

But why no writing?  No Blogging? Embarrassment, Social Pressure, Idea Differences.  Below the skin level, I am a people pleaser. 

Every week I think back to the day I received a copy of one of my articles, with my daughter's picture attached to it, at my home address.  I held that letter with tears rolling down my cheeks.  I needed to give it all up; someone thought I was dumb.  I called my editors who all begged me not to quit but suggested I take an alias writing name.  We jumped through hoops, confused the world, and to this day I find the whole mess annoying.  

I later learned through conversations the letter likely came from a close relative that still to this day takes jabs at me on social media.  Battle Wounds. 

I hide, they win.  

In 2012, I went through the darkest moments of my life.  I tore apart what appeared on social media to be the picture-perfect marriage.  It was all a lie.  There is no picture-perfect marriage. 

He blamed me, I blamed him, no one blamed the fact that I likely got pregnant the night I met him and were not matched equally.  The only things that survived that mess was two amazing children that God gifted us and lots of life experience that I could use to help others.  

During that dark time, I went on a luxurious press trip to Dallas, Texas and Grapevine, Texas.  Stayed at the Omni in Dallas, there were televisions in the bathtub, and we snuck into Jewel's concert.  It was a trip of a lifetime; no it was the trip my life needed at the time.  

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Amidon Memorial Conservation Area

Amidon Memorial Conservation Area is a 1,630-acre area located on the upper reaches of the Castor River in Bollinger and Madison counties. 

The forest's timber species range from mixed hardwoods to shortleaf pine to cedar glades. A granite shut-ins on the Castor River adds an interesting geologic feature. 

Amidon Memorial Conservation Area makes a beautiful fall hike with the mixture of colors.  The area is family friendly, but good walking shoes are recommended as the rocks can get slick.  

More information:

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Splurge for a fishing guide, it is well worth it.

There is always that moment in life that you think nothing will top this - I had that moment while on a boat in the middle of the lake with Ed Franko of Big Ed's Guide Service. 

In 2014, I was asked to visit the Lake of the Ozarks area.  I am first and foremost a Mom, I think that is pretty obvious.   Like all Moms there are things that I wish I could give my kids that are not always possible, one of those things is a day they will remember forever.  That goal was accomplished with Big Ed.  

We were invited to go fishing with Big Ed as part of our trip but fishing with Big Ed turned into more than just a story - it turned into a life altering event.  

I am confident Big Ed was more use to fishing with men that had experience with fishing poles and at least some experience, but he didn’t seem to mind these young kids climbing all over his boat and acting all crazy.  

We did catch some fish, nothing prize winning, but we caught some fish!  

Every time the kids would reel something in, Big Ed would loudly say: 

 "Sometimes it's Chickens, Sometimes it's Feathers"  

what chickens an feathers has to do with fishing I have yet to know!  What I do know is every time he would say it, my kids would bust up laughing.  

Moms (and Dads) Splurge for a fishing guide, it is well worth it, and when you are in Lake of the Ozarks call up Big Ed.  Tell him we said Hi and  "Sometimes it's Chickens, Sometimes it's Feathers"   

Here is a video of my kids on the lake with Big Ed:

Read More:


(Disclosure:  all of part of my visit mentioned in this post was sponsored, however my thoughts cannot be bought, all opinions are my own.) 

Sunset after the Storm

Black River Electric Crews in Glen Allen, MO